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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Pacific Gas & Electric Company Settles Environmental Protection Prosecution for Discharge of Oil into Paulin Creek

Santa Rosa, CA  –  November 17, 2016  –  District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Allan D. Hardcastle ordered Pacific Gas & Electric Company (“PG&E”) to pay $120,000 as part of the settlement of a civil environmental prosecution for discharging used electrical transformer oil into Paulin Creek in Santa Rosa, California.

The case was filed in Sonoma County Superior Court. The complaint alleges that between February 6 and 7, 2015, during an intense storm, a PG&E underground electrical transformer located on Sleepy Hollow Drive in Santa Rosa failed.  During or after efforts to repair, and then replace the transformer, used transformer oil from the underground transformer vault was discharged into a nearby storm drain and ultimately into Paulin Creek.  The complaint alleges that PG&E unlawfully discharged used transformer oil into the creek, and failed to immediately notify proper authorities of the discharge.

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This outstanding resolution is due to the efforts and cooperation between the Santa Rosa Fire Department, the Santa Rosa Police Department, and investigators and prosecutors from my office.  We will continue to work with our environmental protection partners to protect our natural resources.”

Under the terms of the final judgment, PG&E must pay $80,000 in civil penalties, and $40,000 in investigative and enforcement costs.  PG&E will be bound under the terms of an injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law.

PG&E, under the supervision of the City of Santa Rosa, treated and removed the transformer oil from Paulin Creek and surrounding vegetation.  Additionally, PG&E and its counsel worked cooperatively to implement changes to its underground vault dewatering procedures and related training.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Matthew Cheever, assisted by Santa Rosa Fire Department Assistant Fire Marshall Paul Lowenthal.


Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
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